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FedUp1771FFedUp1771 Posts: 1
edited 12/17/2014 - 8:00 PM in Chronic Pain
Hey Folks,

Came across this forum and thought I'd say hello, share my story and possible gain some new insight.

First, I'll try to sum up my story the best I can...
I've experienced debilitating pain in my lower back for close to 19 years now, I'll be 33 yrs old next month. I've had several bulging/herniated discs that have come and gone over the years, I've lost a number of jobs because my back would go out only 2 or 3 months after being hired on. I'd be confined to my bed for a month or longer at a time, in some instances. Luckily, I have family who have always been there to help out when needed. In the earlier days, I had met with a reputable back surgeon in Toronto xxxxx who basically told me to deal with what I had been dealt. I was told no chiro, no physio, no surgery, nada. I remember leaving that appointment, bawling in my step-father's car, wondering how on earth I was supposed to just deal with this excruciating pain...but I did. And I would suffer through the next 18 years without any help other than from all the pain killers, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers I was given to shut me up in the ER or from my family doctor.

A few years ago, on top of the odd new bulging or herniated disc, they told me I have arthritis, which is great fun, and this Degenerative Disc Disease. Is it just me, or is anyone and everyone with chronic pain, diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease? Now, my last MRI (done 2 weeks ago) only came back with a couple of tears/bulging discs (no big deal) the arthritis which is apparently aggravating nerve roots (awesome fun)...but that's it...

So...if this is it, why have I been taken to the ER twice in just the last 2 months alone, with pain so bad, I thought I might just black out? I'm no stranger to back pain, I believe I have quite the tolerance for it, but my hips over the last year have started to swell up like balloons on both sides when my back "goes out", my lower back itself feels like someone is digging their fingers into it, it's on fire, my pelvic area is throbbing, my legs feel like they're going to buckle, not to mention the shooting pain down them, I can't sit, I can't stand, I can't lay still, my body shakes...all this as the result of the odd bulging or herniated disc and some arthritis? I'm not buying it anymore...

Just writing this now, confuses me. I've read that patients everywhere are terribly confused after their doctors have diagnosed them, so I know I'm not alone. One doctor's diagnosis might vary from another's and a third doctor might even have something totally different to say from the other two. And chances are, the 3 of them are only guessing. I'm so exhausted with trips to the ER, just to get a shot of morphine, a shot of toradol and a prescription for more fentinyl patches...the usual. I'm fed up with losing my job. I'm fed up with not being able to dress myself, bathe myself for weeks at a time...luckily I've got the best fiance ever! I'm so tired of it all. The longest I've gone without my back "going out" was 3 months, in 19 years!...I'm so tired.

I have a bone scan on Friday. I was supposed to do the MRI first but the scheduling just worked out that way. A bone scan is new to me. They'll call me back with the results, tell me I'm just fine and all I need is exercise. Erg.

Anyhoo, for those of you who read through my entire rant, thank you for allowing me to vent. I really, really wanted to vent. I'd appreciate any insight, words of hope, prayer maybe : )



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 12/17/2014 - 8:01 PM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Welcome! I am also new here. As I read through your post I can relate to a lot of what you said. I have suffered from low back problems for over 25 years. This is no fun dealing with pain, that affects your life and how you live. I am lucky I guess I have been in extreme pain with sciatica and bulging disc for the last 8 month in constant pain. In my opinion I think you need to find a doctor who believes in you and wants to help you without masking the problem. I went to a surgeon last week and he spent a lot of time with me and testing me before asking me what I wanted. Of course I told him I wanted the pain to stop and to be able to live a normal healthy life without being in extreme pain. He immediately scheduled me for emergency surgery. I don't believe every MRI or X-RAY or CT scan will provide all the answers to someone's condition. If I were you I would get a second and third opinion. Good luck I hope you can find out what's going on and get it resolved soon!
  • I'm sorry that you have been dealing with this for so long, but one thing that I read is glaring , and that is that you are spending far too much time in bed........these days, no one should be in bed for a month at a time , in fact, in most cases, it is not recommended at all for the patient to spend time laying in bed. It only contributes to increased pain levels, reduced tolerance to any activity , swelling and loss of muscle tone and stamina.......for those reasons alone, it is not advisable to get caught in the trap of inactivity.
    DDD is something that occurs as a natural part of the aging process of the human body, and if we were to image the entire population over the age of 21 or so, the majority of them will show signs of DDD.......it is not a disease in the sense that most people think, disease in this case simply means a biological process, degenerative means that the discs are loosing some of their hydration over time (decades in most cases), as we get older.
    Arthritis in the spine can occur because of physically demanding jobs, heredity, previous injury , or just simply wear and tear on the spine.
    In cases where there are disc bulges , if you look at a jelly doughnut , it is round or oval , but if the donut is filled too much one side can kind of pouch out, so instead of being perfectly round, or oval, one side or another can be a bit more outpouched than the other.......this doesn't necessarily mean anything, unless it is outpouched in a direction that creates contact with the nerve roots or other structures in the spine.
    What kind of doctor are you seeing? When was the last time that you were seen by a board certified spine surgeon for a consult? When was your last imaging done?
    One thing that I do want to caution you about is going to the ER for pain management............in most situations, especially those of chronic spine pain, doing that is frowned upon and won't result in getting a diagnosis or treatment other than a shot or two of toradol and a referral back to your own doctor. If you are seeing someone who is treating you for pain, going to the ER and getting prescriptions for pain medications can result in dismissal and being labled a "frequent flier " who is only there for pain medications........you don't want that information following you around in your medical records.
  • Welcome! I know how frustrating back pain is, especially when it becomes a long time problem and controls your daily life. Have you ever seen a pain specialist for your condition? Doctors today tend to have tunnel vision and when you have back pain they just look at your back instead of the whole person. You have been in chronic pain for a long time ( for me it has been 27 years). You might want to try a different approach. Instead of seeing someone just for your back pain you might want to find someone who will look at your entire health. Things like diet can play a huge part especially so much of are food is full of chemicals and meat that is from animals who have been given growth hormones and antibiotics. Treatment in the past for back pain was to stay in bed. Today we know that is one of the worse things to do for more then a day or two because it just makes your muscles weaker. Weaker muscles means more stress on your spine which causes more back pain. Getting in a swimming pool can be a big help with giving you some exercise. ( you do not need to know how to swim for it to help you). In fact some hospitals have pool where the water is much warmer and allow those who have approval from there doctor to go classes or use during certain times during the day. I doubt there is anyone out there who deals with chronic pain not to have some issues with depression. Sometimes being on a low dose of a antidepressant can help (it's helped me). They say if you want something to change then you need try something different. Maybe finding a pain clinic that has Physiatrist might be the direction to go to next.
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